Leave No Child Inside

     We’ve all heard of "Leave No Trace" and most of us have heard of "No Child Left Behind" but if you’re like me then you probably haven’t heard of "Leave No Child Inside."  This is an effort to get kids outside by Chicago Wilderness, "a regional alliance of more than 260 organizations working together to restore local nature and improve the quality of life for all living things, by protecting the lands and waters on which we all depend. They have named June 2013 Leave No Child Inside Month and I’m sure they really want kids outside today on National Get Outdoors Day!

     A number of initiatives like "Leave No Child Inside" are sprouting up across the country.  This is most likely in response to the alarming number of hours children spend indoors these days. According to one article I read kids spend 6.5 hours a day watching a screen and are six times more likely to play a computer game than ride a bike! It seems crazy there needs to be an effort to get kids outside when as a kid my parents couldn’t get me to come inside.

     It’s a sad situation kids are facing these days and I’m sure it’s because they aren’t getting time outdoors. Kids need a place to run around and explore where gadgets aren’t monopolizing all of their time. They need to spend time with nature so they can reap benefits like improved mood and greater self-esteem. Organizations and doctors all over should be prescribing time in the wilderness to improve overall health. It’s no wonder today’s kids are facing a decline of 2-5 years in average length of life when compared to their parents.  

     Hopefully the message that kids need nature is heard loud and clear. Not just during June but every day of every month kids need to spend time outside.  If the American people can stand behind an idea like "No Child Left Behind" then this should be an even easier effort if we all work together and "Leave No Child Inside." 


Through Leave No Child Inside, organizations are striving to reconnect children to nature and promote the Chicago Wilderness Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights states that every child has the right to:

1.Camp under the stars

2.Catch and release fish, frogs and insects

3.Celebrate heritage

4.Climb a tree

5.Discover prairies, dunes, forests, savannas, and wetlands

6.Explore nature in neighborhoods and cities

7.Follow a trail

8.Learn to swim

9.Plant a flower

10.Play in the mud